Senate remembers late Sen. Morris Hood III

    Former Sen. Mo Hood and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    After a spirited and politically charged election season, the state Senate in bipartisan fashion on Thursday adopted a resolution to memorialize the late Morris Hood III, one of its former members who was liked on both sides of the aisle. Hood, a Detroit Democrat, died in May at age 54 from coronavirus.

    Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said that Hood was a “great listener” in a period when some lawmakers didn’t take the time to talk with the opposing political party. 

    “I would ask that each and every one of us in this chamber keep the spirit of Morris in our hearts every day,” Shirkey said. “Allow the example of Morris to inspire us and to help carry on his legacy in this chamber.”

    Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) also spoke fondly of Hood. Their fathers, Curtis Hertel Sr. and Morris Hood Jr., served as House colleagues during the 1980s and 1990s. He described Morris III as “a statesman, a fighter and the conscience of this body.” 

    “Being the epitome of a great public servant is who he was,” Hertel said. 

    Ken Coleman: Sen. Hood stood out at the Capitol for civility and compassion

    Hood built on a family tradition in state government politics. He served in the state House from 2003 to 2009 and in the Senate from 2011 to 2019. His father, Morris Jr., and uncle, Raymond, both served in the Michigan Legislature. Morris Jr. led the way in forming the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus in 1976. His grandfather, Morris Sr., was elected and served as a member of the state’s Constitutional Convention during 1961 and 1962, the body that wrote Michigan’s current constitution.  

    On Wednesday, U.S. and Michigan flags were lowered to half-staff within the state Capitol in honor of Hood. 

    “Mo’s calm and compassionate leadership is a reminder to us all to work alongside one another to serve this great state,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who served with Hood in the Legislature. “By lowering the flags, we honor his life, his wit, and his long-lasting legacy of equality and unity. My sincere love and prayers go out to his family, friends, and all those who continue to grieve his loss.” 

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.